|Donald Brashear looks to make his MMA debut in June. (QMI Agency/Annie T. Roussel)
Ex-NHL heavyweight Donald Brashear's MMA debut is still scheduled for June 4, even though he doesn't know who he'll be facing.
"We don't know who it's going to be right now because he got injured and can't fight, so we have to pick another fighter. It's up in the air right now,"
But Brashear said he still expects to appear on the undercard of Ringside 11 at the Pepsi Colisee in Quebec despite Martin Trempe (0-2) being forced to bow out.
Prior to donning the gloves, Brashear had been dropping them in the infamous semi-pro Ligue Nord-Americain de Hockey. Now, he's training several hours a day at Nordik Fight Club in Quebec, learning takedowns and submission holds among other manoeuvres.
Brashear's obvious strengths are his size -- about 240 lbs. -- and his striking, which he developed as an on-ice enforcer as well as in amateur boxing, in which he compiled a 2-1 record. Brashear, however, will still be relatively green, having only trained about a month-and-a-half by the time of his fight.
"It's pretty technical, it's lots of stuff once you start. But I feel like it's coming along where it's coming more natural, where I can think while I'm fighting. You also have to think quick because it doesn't take long before you get in a bad position and you're out of the fight."
Given his inexperience, don't expect him to showboat -- taunting his opposition and dusting off his hands -- any time soon.
"We're not at that point yet," he joked, noting that was something he did for certain hockey opponents while adding that there's more respect between MMA fighters.
Brashear is obviously a latecomer to the MMA game at 39, but said he was drawn to the sport for the challenge. Eighteen years in pro hockey had worn on Brashear, who revealed it was tough finding the fire to go work out everyday and get in game shape. A change was in order.
"It's new, I learn lots of different stuff everyday, so it keeps me interested and makes it fun."
A five game suspension he earned in March while playing for Rivieres-du-Loup for continuing to punch a downed opponent played no part in his decision, he said.
In spite of an assault charge that followed an incident after that game, Brashear was still able to get a fighting licence from Quebec's Athletic Commission.
His former NHL rival Georges Laraque pondered Brashear's MMA move and tried justifying it.
"I guess he loves fighting. It's mostly surprising for me because he's [nearly] 40-years-old and a lot of people would ask, 'Why would he do this?' When you've fought all your life, you would think that you've had enough."
Laraque, ever the gentleman, wished his one-time adversary good luck and hoped he was training hard because, after all, "it's pretty dangerous."
Brashear seems to knows this and isn't looking too far ahead.
"What's important for me is I want to do it as long as I can but I also want to be smart about it. I have two kids, I have a family, so I don't want this to go the wrong way. Obviously I want to get some fights, but at the same time, I want to keep my head on my shoulders."